Charlie’s guest for this episode is Maggie Beer.
Maggie Beer is one of Australia’s best known cooks, fresh food advocates, rural community supporters, and on farm restauranteur icons. Charlie caught up with Maggie at her home in The Barossa Valley, surrounded by quince, citrus and medlar trees, to explore a life filled with passion, energy, flare and a tenacious will to feed people good old fashioned farm produce.
Music plays a big part in her life | The choir who gather at her home every Wednesday night gives her energy! | Maggie is famous for her quince paste with her first quince orchard planted 35 years ago | Quince is a staple fruit tree in the Barossa at old farm houses | She and husband ( Colin) moved to the Barossa Valley 48 years ago where they found a natural reverence for food in the Barossa | She grew up in western suburbs of Sydney and left school at 14 | Colin’s vision was to farm pheasants and Maggie was going to make wine | A farm shop in Scotland inspired Colin to have his own on the farm | Maggie, who was never taught to cook, started the farm shop which morphed into a restaurant, utilizing food from their farm and surrounds | Colin is sensible, practical and good with figures while Maggie is the driven one | Mediterranean climate inspired her to cook Mediterranean food and dishes and grow those trees and foods | A turning point was in 1991 when they won the the Remy Martin Cognac – Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year award | They were an overnight success, but Maggie was burning out | Colin gave her an ultimatum, its either me or the restaurant! So Maggie retired from the farm kitchen 4 months later | Her great friend and supporter Stephanie Alexander has rolled out her cooking program to 2000 schools in Australia | The Maggie Beer Foundation was established in 2014 to improve the food experiences for older Australians, particularly those living within aged care homes – ‘Everything you do for me you take away from me’ | Maggie is irate about – regional mental health and suicide levels | She was the senior Aust of the year in 2010 | She is excited about SA!
Maggie Beer – products
The Great Australian Bake Off – Foxtel Show hosted by Maggie and Matt Moran
Pheasant Farm Restaurant ( now closed) Remy Martin Cognac – Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year 1991
Kitchen Garden Foundation – Stephanie Alexander initiative
Alkina Wine – Barossa Valley, SA ( location of the Tasting Australia Long Lunch May 5th )
Tasting Australia – 2022 dates 29th April to 8th May
The Great Australian Cook Off – Matt Moran & Maggie Beer both